FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Darrelle Revis plans to play “until the wheels fall off,” and at his age, he doesn’t have many more years to wait.
The Jets’ cornerback, who turns 31 next month, expects to pick up right where he left off in 2015: healthy and fighting for a playoff spot. He expects free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to be a part of it.
“We want him back,” Revis said Tuesday, the first day of mandatory minicamp, “and we want to see him walk in this locker room.”
While Fitzpatrick’s contract talks with the organization remain stalled, Geno Smith continues his work with the first-team offense. Smith is the starter as long as the team’s top choice stays away. But even though Fitzpatrick’s locker no longer bears his name, his friendships with teammates are as tight as ever.
“His beard? Yeah, it’s pretty strong. It’s pretty full right now,” center Nick Mangold said. “Yeah, we talk. We don’t talk about business because I don’t feel like that’s my place. If he wants to talk about it, we talk about it.”
For the past month, the Jets have practiced with Smith as a placeholder. But every perfect spiral or on-target touchdown can’t erase the reality that players — and more important, the front office — are eagerly awaiting Fitzpatrick’s return.
Revis acknowledged that roster decisions are well above his pay grade, but he reiterated how strongly the locker room feels about Fitzpatrick. “Ryan is a big part of our success. He definitely is,” Revis said. “He came here, he’s broken a bunch of records in the quarterback category. He was a big part of our offense.
“This has been going on all offseason and we’re waiting for him to come back.”
Revis, 13 weeks removed from wrist surgery, spent all of OTAs on the sidelines. The same will be true during the Jets’ three-day mandatory minicamp. Being a spectator never has suited a fierce competitor like him.
“Not being out there in OTAs, it makes you want to be out there with your teammates,” he said, smiling. “But I’ve got a wrist injury that I’ve got to take care of.”
Revis did his best to ignore the wrist injury last season, playing through the pain in hopes of making the playoffs. He expects to return with the same target in mind.
“I feel that’s your goal every year,” said Revis, who’s on track to return to the field by training camp. “We fell way short last year by going 10-6 . . . We all know that we needed to win that game [Week 17 at Buffalo] to actually get in the playoffs. It didn’t happen. It wasn’t meant to be last year. This year we have another opportunity. We still have a lot of the same guys that were on the team last year. So we can build off last year. We definitely can.”